Dear Bretton Ridge neighbors and friends,
I know that some of you are overwhelmed and maybe even still underwater, please believe me when I say, I feel your pain. Last night was traumatic for so many of us, my family included. I wanted to reach out with my HOA hat on this morning to address a few things, so please bear with the longer post.
There were some things ‘we’ learned last night about flooding in the city that I think con be separated into three categories; homeowner responsibility, HOA responsibility, and city responsibility. Many of us know what the city has or has not done in the last few years to make improvements to the drainage around neighborhoods like ours. Those facts and opinions can be read throughout the posts on this page and on the city’s website.
As far as HOA responsibility, there are some things we have done, and more we can do moving forward. To clarify, at NO point was I or anyone on the board, ever in a position to influence the nursing home construction project. “Our” involvement was limited to granting them ‘right of way’ permission to install equipment on Bretton Ridge’s commonly held property. Also keep in mind that the board members attended city council meetings, met with contractors and city engineers, and the developer multiple times. At every meeting, every board member in attendance, expressed our dissatisfaction with the plans, and each one of us consistently thought these plans were inadequate. We also raised concerns about the condition of Root Ditch (which runs behind the park and pool) and it’s inability to move water. We suggested they (the city) fix the ditch, dig it deeper, and wider, and extend it to Stearns road to avoid catastrophic backups like last night. This concern was ‘brushed off’ by the city engineers, and we were told it would be too costly. At NO point were ‘we’ ever in a position to halt or stop the progress of this project, but we did make it difficult, and did get on the record as concerned for the viability and sustainability of the ditch to move water away from Bretton Ridge. We were also told that the retention pond at the Lorain Road entrance would ‘catch’ the majority of the water runoff from the property, and the overflow would be slowed by a further retention system under the parking lot. It is clear, by last nights evidence that those systems were inadequate for the amount of rainfall we received and/or completely failed. Also keep in mind that we are not alone – the entire city flooded, and many cities around us. Yes, some of this could probably have been mitigated differently, and we will continue to press the city with new evidence of these inadequacies.
That all being said, what “we” as an association can do from here is document last night’s flooding to streets and community property as proof of failed systems. What I would ask, is that if you have photos and video of streets, the park, the ditch, or other city-owned systems overflowing or flooding, please keep that. We have developed a way to catalog and respond to the cities failings as they relate to the construction project and our properties. (Visit http://tiny.cc/3jp7oz).
Please also keep in mind that it is clear to me (though not an engineer) that the source of the real issue is downstream of Bretton Ridge. Evidence collected so far from last night points to a bottleneck downstream of Root Ditch, past the pool. Getting to the root of that problem, and getting the city to fix those issues will be an ongoing challenge. But, we do need evidence of those issues, so please save your photos and videos and catalog them with other residents. Add them to our documentation here: http://tiny.cc/3jp7oz. If you have questions about the city’s projects and response, you can contact our ward councilman Paul Schumann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Another issue that surfaced last night, as documented on these pages, is flooding in backyards in what is known as a ‘swail’. This is where your property and your neighbors property slope towards each other. Many people, myself included, saw massive flooding and water retention in those ares. What we need to do is, again, document where these floods are happening. If you can please, save pictures and videos, and include them on the attached form. Nick and I have acquired some maps from the city that now may shed some light on something we can do as owners and as an association to help address this. Please include your address if you had backyard flooding so we can track that.
Lastly, for now, I am reminded of mitigation that some homeowners took 6 years ago after that bad flood. That is, to install a back flow prevention valve, sometimes called a check valve, onto your sewer line in your basement or at the street. If you had water coming up through floor drains, toilets or sinks in your basement last night, that water is likely coming from the overwhelmed city lines. Installing one of these valves would prevent water coming in, but would let water out of your basement. These are not cheap, but the likely saved some residents from flooding again last night.
So, to summarize…yes, we ALL need to keep pressure on the city to continue to improve the size and capacity of the storm sewer system in North Olmsted. Yes, we can also pressure the developer and the city to fix their issues at the construction site as it’s clear their systems failed last night. And yes, each one of us can do something on our own to help our own individual property.
Please, also remember, that we all have families, board members have families. I have a family and children that have been affected by last night’s events. The board of Bretton Ridge is made up of residents, who are volunteers, doing their best to make Bretton Ridge a better place to live. If you have a comment, please keep those last details in mind, and make it constructive. There are things that we can all do to help solve these different issues, but only if we stick together, document everything, and share advice and resources.
Thank you – please use this form (http://tiny.cc/3jp7oz) to help us compile data about our damage from the flooding last night.
Bretton Ridge HOA